06 Division of the common
The next 200 years saw many changes which affected the common. In the 1700s disputes arose between the people of Hawick and neighbouring landowners. These concerned the rights the people had over the Common. Some thought that the town didn't own the land after all. The whole matter was even taken to court. The court battle lasted several years.
The Duke of Buccleuch became the Baron of Hawick. He gained this title from the Douglas family. The Duke and others claimed that the Common should be divided between Hawick and himself. He believed that all the lands of the Barony should be his. After a long, bitter argument a neutral person was asked to decide. As a result of this in 1777, the Year of Division, Hawick lost six-twentieths of the Common to Buccleuch. This part of the Common included the Auld Ca' Knowe. This ended the custom of calling the Burgesses Roll.
Soon the Town Council enclosed the remainder of the Common with dykes and fences. This was done so that the land could be better used by farmers. As a result, the need for riding the marches, the Common-Riding was ended.
Indeed in 1794, it was decided by the Council that no Common-Riding be held in the future. This decision caused a terrible row in the town. Within two days the Council had to change its mind. The ancient ceremonies which we all enjoy today were saved.
In 1911 the Hawick Callants Club built a cairn at the Auld Ca' Knowe. This was to mark the spot where the Roll was called. Later the land around the cairn and a path leading to it were given to the town by the Duke of Buccleuch so that the people of Hawick could still visit the famous spot.